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Business Update from London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

June 24, 2020
General News
LCCI

Business support

New sectors of the economy permitted to reopen from 4th July 2020

• The Prime Minister announced that the following premises could reopen from 4 July provided they could be COVID-secure: Hotels, B&Bs, self-contained accommodation, camp sites, caravan sites, bars, pubs, social clubs, hair salons, outdoor playgrounds, and outdoor gyms, among others.

• Guidance documents on how businesses can reopen in a COVID-secure manner are listed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

• The guidance for the above businesses are covered under:

o ‘Close contact services’,

o ‘Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services’ and

o ‘The visitor economy

• Some key points to note for the following are:

'Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services' and

▪ Businesses will be asked to keep a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days

▪ Work with neighbouring businesses to stagger opening times, to prevent queues of people overlapping one another on the street and maintain 1m+ social distancing

It is hard to see how businesses will square this one – competition will be fierce for night-time punters

▪ Encouraging compliance among visitors to pubs and restaurants regarding the rules on social distancing and which groups of people are permitted to meet

Again, it is difficult to see how this will work in practice. Are businesses expected to ask how many different households are

present in a group?

o ‘The visitor economy’

▪ UK Hospitality is due to publish guidance for these businesses

o ‘Close contact services’

▪ Operating on an appointment-only basis and restricting the number of people in a venue at any given time

▪ Screening customers on any recent signs of Covid-19 symptoms

Keep checking this website for information on local council discretionary fund schemes

https://localgrantfinder.capitalenterprise.org/

MoL calls for furlough scheme extension

• Warning of a “looming unemployment crisis,” Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on the Chancellor to extend the CJRS beyond the end of the lockdown.

o He has also called for a further devolution of skills funding, and an extensive investment in job creation schemes in the long term.

Sajid Javid and CPS unveil report on economic recovery

• Former Chancellor Sajid Javid, alongside the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), has published a set of recommendations to the Government on how best to kickstart the economy and minimise the long-term damage wrought by the pandemic.

o The report, “After the Virus”, believes a V-shaped recovery is now unlikely and the need to maintain social distancing coupled with a lack of consumer and business confidence is damaging prospects for economic growth.

o Key recommendations include:

o cutting employer’s National Insurance;

o major infrastructure investment and creating a British Infrastructure Bank;

o review of the tax system;

o free trade agreements and a visa scheme to entice top graduates to invest in the UK;

o and major planning reform and the reclassification of the Green Belt.

Amazon launches SME accelerator programme

• CITY A.M. reported that Amazon has launched an accelerator programme for UK SMEs, providing them with key digital tools for the post-coronavirus economic recovery.

• Amazon’s Small Business Accelerator, launched in partnership with Enterprise Nation, will operate a free online training programme for 200,000 businesses.

Government extends halt to business evictions and offers more support for high street firms

• The UK Government will extend measures to prevent high street business from facing eviction until September.

• Additionally, a new code of practice was developed with leaders from retail, hospitality, and the property sectors to provide clarity and encourage best practice when discussing rental payments. This code encourages the payment of rent in full if they can do and encourages landlords to provide support for businesses where possible.

Policy updates

Education

• A report by the Social Mobility Commission has found that the apprenticeship system is failing people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

o There is a 36% decline in apprenticeship starts by people from disadvantaged backgrounds, compared with 23% for others.

o Shadow Education Secretary has called for a “post COVID skills funding package” to address the “barriers to success”.

Japan rushes UK to agree first post-Brexit trade deal

• It was reported in the Financial Times that Japan has put pressure on the UK Government to deliver one of the world’s fastest trade negotiations in history – just six weeks.

• The top negotiator on the Japanese side, Mr Hiroshi Matsuura, said that time is so short that both sides will need to seek to “limit their ambitions”, which remove UK hopes for great trade liberalisation from Japan.

New plans announced to get Britain building in coronavirus recovery.

• Planning permission deadlines will be extended, planning appeals will be sped up and builders will be allowed more flexible working hours following agreement with their local council.

• The government estimates that by the end of this month alone, more than 400 residential permissions providing more than 24,000 new homes would have expired. The new measures will help these developments and more resume as the economy recovers.